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Photo#353136
Larval Stowaways - Dermestes

Larval Stowaways - Dermestes
November 18, 2009
Size: 12mm
I have left the data fields blank because these are stowaways that I found in my feeder crickets. I get 1-3 of them in every batch of Fluker's crickets that I buy. I think the Fluker's headquarters is in Louisiana, although that doesn't necessarily mean my batch came from there (not sure though). The box is sealed very sturdily and I don't see any way that these larvae could have entered the container after the crickets were shipped. The container is hard plastic and I doubt they could chew through it...plus there aren't any holes. So I guess they came from Louisiana on a big truck and survived the whole trip?? I usually wait too long to separate them out and either the crickets eat them or they die on their own. So this time I caught them early and hope to find out what they are. Of course, the first thing I thought of was Carpet Beetle larva, but I realize that I know about as much about beetle larva as I do about extremophiles or something, lol. So I wanted some help from the beetle experts.

Images of this individual: tag all
Larval Stowaways - Dermestes Larval Stowaways - Dermestes Larval Stowaways - Dermestes Larval Stowaways - Dermestes Larval Stowaways - Dermestes Larval Stowaways - Dermestes Larval Stowaways - Dermestes Larval Stowaways - Dermestes

Sad news...
I managed to successfully, but accidentally, kill the two larva the other day. All this time of feeding them and keeping them alive so that I could see the adult, wasted...grrr. My inexperienced beetle sense told me I should spray a little water for them to drink, since it had been months without any. Well, they couldn't handle it I guess, because they were dead the next day. Drowned? I don't know. But I barely even spritzed them! Ah, well... maybe there will be another time. I get these with my feeder crickets pretty often.

Thanks!
Thank you, =v= and Domingo. Dermestes does look very promising! Dermestes ater looks especially promising...and I am going to try and keep these larvae alive to see what they turn in to. There is a photo of the larval exuvia (dead skin?) and it looks exactly like the ones I sometimes find in the cricket containers:

...but I never see the beetle that has emerged from the exuvia. I've been assuming that the crickets eat it.

 
Dermestes ater
I've just started collecting these as I am curious as to life cycle, I got a second hand 'leather' sofa from friends some months ago and on clearing papers etc piled up next to it. discovered larvae and beetles. I have had them a week (in a plastic box and they get on well together and are not cannibals. What I find interesting is the big difference in sizes of the larvae from 3mm up to 12mm. I saw one just 'shedding its skin' and out came a white one- this slowly darkened over 48hours, it seems they all do this - I have found smaller empty skins. It's not beetles that emerge as you wondered. I will try to add photos later. I have yet to see pupae.(UK)

 
I'm so glad you commented...
As I was reading your comment and saw the sizes you mentioned, I decided to look at what size I had listed for mine. I saw 17mm?! Holey moley, I don't know what I was thinking. Perhaps I misread my ruler? lol. My little ones are only 12mm. So I've corrected that mistake. (Glad you posted, otherwise I never would've noticed.) Its been a couple weeks since I found my larva with the crickets and they have yet to molt or change in any way. I feed them fish food flakes (a suggestion I read in a Bug Guide forum), since I don't have dog food, and they love them.

Sparked by your comment, I read some things about carpet beetle life cycles: They undergo complete metamorphosis. The adult beetle lives 20 to 60 days and lays 30-100 eggs, which hatch in 6-20 days. The larva (the fuzzy thing) lasts 60 to 325 days, molting as they grow. The duration of the beetle's pupal phase (cocoon) ranges from 14 to 21 days and then adult carpet beetles emerge in spring or summer. Carpet beetle young develop into adults within nine months to two years.

Quite a long life cycle, eh?! Wow.

I'm glad I read this information, because I had thought a beetle was supposed to emerge. I guess somehow skipping pupation? Haha! My inexperience with things that pupate definitely shows. :) Spiders are my forte and I tend to inadvertently neglect other bugs. Thanks again for your post! And I will look forward to your photos!

 
Carol
I have carpet beetle infestation . Can anyone help with info

Moved
Moved from ID Request.

This is just a guess,
but the species that I associate with cricket culture is Dermestes ater. If you're really curious, you could try raising these on dry dog food to see what comes out...

must be a Dermestes; lovely series
no alternatives in this size range

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